U.S. Army Tries to Suspend Disbelief During Ninth Circuit Oral Arguments in Case Challenging its Domestic Spying

U.S. Army Tries to Suspend Disbelief During Ninth Circuit Oral Arguments in Case Challenging its Domestic Spying

The Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments last Friday in Panagacos v. Towery, the most important case of the US military spying on political activists in decades.

The lawsuit brought by seven activists in 2010 challenges a sweeping surveillance and infiltration apparatus involving the Army and other divisions of the military, and local and state law enforcement. The apparatus relied largely, but not exclusively, on Army intelligence analyst John J. Towery (under the alias "John Jacob").

Recently disclosed DNC insurance policy shows law enforcement's contempt for protest

Recently disclosed DNC insurance policy shows law enforcement's contempt for protest

With much less fanfare than it received before the Democratic National Convention, the insurance policy protecting Philadelphia police from liability against a host of rights violations perpetrated against protesters was finally obtained last month by journalist Dustin Slaughter.

The $1.2 million insurance policy underwritten by Landmark American Insurance Company covered the Philadelphia Police Department for $5 million in case they were sued over excessive use of force or other rights violations.

NYPD Discovers Trove of Spying Records Just Days After Historic Public Comment Period Ends

NYPD Discovers Trove of Spying Records Just Days After Historic Public Comment Period Ends

Last week, the Municipal Archive of New York City found over one million "lost" pages—more than 520 boxes—documenting the New York Police Department's (NYPD) surveillance and infiltration of political groups during the 1960s and 70s.

Notably, the discovery comes just days after the federal court closed a rare comment period linked to a decades-old class-action lawsuit challenging the spying operations of the NYPD.

What a Relief, the City of Cleveland Won't Be Using Nerve Gas on RNC Protesters

What a Relief, the City of Cleveland Won't Be Using Nerve Gas on RNC Protesters

Wednesday, the Cleveland Police Department (CPD) allegedly unveiled its Republican convention security "plans" to the city's Safety Committee, but it left the public with a lot more questions than it answered.

In addition to "increased greater-than-normal protection in the neighborhoods" (which could be awkwardly read as heavier-than-normal patrolling of Black neighborhoods) and 12-hour work days for police officers, Deputy Chief Ed Tomba told NBC affiliate WKYC that, "We're not purchasing nerve gas" and "We're not purchasing tanks."

Court Offers Rare Opportunity for Public Comment on NYPD Spying

Court Offers Rare Opportunity for Public Comment on NYPD Spying

There’s little dispute today that we live in a National Security State. Unlawful police surveillance and infiltration of religious and political groups has become so common that it barely evokes outrage. Perhaps the most notorious perpetrators of unwarranted spying on Americans is the New York Police Department (NYPD), which continues to establish questionable counter-terrorism and counterintelligence units to spy on New Yorkers despite being repeatedly sued over it.

However, there’s a rare opportunity this month and next to voice opposition to NYPD spying practices. U.S. District Court Judge Charles S. Haight, Jr. recently issued a Notice of Fairness Hearing for which the federal court is seeking comment from the public.

Violations of Attorney-Client Privilege: Unconstitutional and Nothing New

Violations of Attorney-Client Privilege: Unconstitutional and Nothing New

Politically motivated surveillance is a prominent feature of today’s National Security State and is part of a playbook of tactics aggressively used by police against Muslims, dissidents, social change movements, and other targeted groups and individuals. Less known, but no less offensive or threatening is the government’s ongoing attacks against the sanctity of attorney-client privilege.

Efforts by government to monitor communications between attorneys and their clients – a violation of the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – is unfortunately nothing new. State-sanctioned surveillance of lawyers and legal groups like the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) has been going on for decades. And, recent disclosures by The Intercept of meta-data and recorded communication between prisoners and their attorneys indicate that such Constitutional violations are still being carried out today, literally as we speak.

Police infiltration—a tactic of political repression—is on the rise in the twenty-first century

Police infiltration—a tactic of political repression—is on the rise in the twenty-first century

Police infiltration of political dissidents—one indicator of society’s failure to adhere to basic democratic principles—is on the rise in the twenty-first century and shows no signs of letting up.

Infiltration of political movements like Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street illustrates the extent to which law enforcement will go in their efforts not just to seek information, but also to aggressively disrupt political organizing.

Rather than look to Tampa, Cleveland should throw away the repressive policing playbook for the RNC in 2016

Rather than look to Tampa, Cleveland should throw away the repressive policing playbook for the RNC in 2016

Last week, a Cleveland.com article asked if Tampa’s approach to policing the RNC 2012 protests would “provide a blueprint for Cleveland as it prepares to host the next Republican National Convention a year from now?”

However, that may be the wrong question to ask.

Dissidents cautiously applaud historic settlement agreement

Activists who take their message to the streets should be pleased with an historic settlement agreement reached last week between the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) and the federal government with national implications. After nearly 13 years of litigation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of the Interior agreed to “significantly change the handling of mass protests in the United States,” according to PCJF.